10th Annual Schooner Rendezvous livens Cambridge harbor

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The Mystic Whaler

CAMBRIDGE — A fleet of 21 schooners of various sizes gathered in Cambridge Harbor this past weekend for the 10th annual Schooner Rendezvous. The biggest ships on hand were the Mystic Whaler from Connecticut, and the Lady Maryland.

“I am thrilled,” said Jan Devlin, chair of the 2014 Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous. “We have the perfect weekend for our event — the captains tell me it’s perfect sailing weather, so I’m looking forward to the day. This will probably be our biggest day in the past ten years.”

The day was opened by rousing song from the Dorchester Chorus, with not a cloud in the sky and a nice little breeze blowing. Unfortunately, the breeze diminished during the afternoon, and the Parade of Sail — in which all the ships raise sail and move out into the Choptank — was a bit more leisurely than many would have liked.

12 crew members of the Vigilant Crew were on hand, demonstrating their arts to school kids on Friday, and to the bigger kids on Saturday.

The Vigilant Crew is a Baltimore-based education and living history group. “We’re not doing a re-enactment, there’s nothing really to re-enact,” said a spokesman for the group. “We do maritime education based on the golden age of sail in early Colonial times.”

The Vigilant Crew teaches folks about what life was like as a sailor on a tall ship in the long ago days. They teach and demonstrate ancient weapons, navigation and seamanship, and food and cooking; as in, what kinds of foods were carried on a ship, how they were preserved, and how they were prepared. There were of course cannon demonstrations as well, every now and then, just to keep you on your toes.

Vendors plied their wares at booths set up on Long Wharf, and hundreds of folks visited during the afternoon. Visitors got to see the boats up close, and to visit on board a historic ship like the Mystic Whaler was really a rare treat.

“This is a unique opportunity to see these majestic ships up close,” said Jane Devlin, “and a time to celebrate and learn more about our maritime past, as well as our future possibilities as a waterfront town.”

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